Wendy's Journey from Obese to Fit!

55 F , Pittsburgh ,PA
 Rating: 5.0/5.0

PART 3: Having a Plan and the Tools to carry it out...

Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 12:30 PM filed under Diet & Nutrition postings
As my thinking became healthier, a desire grew within me to start making healthy changes in my life.  Before I even had any specific goals, I just wanted to start living better and making daily choices that were more in line with the new beliefs that were replacing my old (unhealthy) beliefs.  A desire was growing in me to start some sort of exercising.  This was crazy, because never before in my life could I say that exercise was something I desired to do!  I also had an overall desire to start making changes in my eating.

I didn’t want to make huge changes that I would do for a day or two or maybe even a week and then give up.  I wanted to make small incremental changes that I could live with and that fit my personality.  I needed to understand myself and learn what factors tend to help me succeed at a task.  What things tend to get me off track?  What are my strengths and weaknesses?  What are my default eating patterns?  My list goes something like this…

· I am task oriented.  To-do lists are my friend (when I am disciplined enough to make them)
· I need accountability.  What gets checked gets done.
· I love games and challenges and tend to be competitive.
· I have an “all-or-nothing” personality and tend to see things in black and white.
· I view eating as a social activity and when alone I tend to skip meals or practice mindless eating or eat without a good plan.
· When eating in social environments I tend to overeat, especially if served family style/buffet.
· I love spending time alone and sometimes resist spending time with others.  But time spent with friends really energizes me.
· I love to work on computers and like to use them to simplify and organize my daily tasks.
· I enjoy Facebook and email and other forms of online communication.

This list could go on and on but you get the idea.

I knew instinctively that I would ultimately fail in the long run if I made changes that didn’t work with my personality, take into account my weaknesses and that I could not live with “for the rest of my life.”  As I set up small changes and new guidelines for myself, I would ask myself the question, “can you do this for the rest of your life?”  If the answer was, “no” then I needed to evaluate it again.

I asked my husband if I could join Curves.  My thinking was it was 3 times a week, for about 30 minutes.  That fit in with my personality and I thought it might be just the structured kind of exercise program that I could stay committed to.  He looked at me like I was crazy (we are not the exercising types) and told me that we couldn’t afford it.  I agreed and went on thinking of what other kind of exercise plan would work for me.

Meanwhile, a Healthy Lifestyles support group was starting up at my church that would use Yahoo! Groups to share goals, tips and encouragement.  I decided that it could offer some of the accountability I needed so I joined on June 3, 2009.  This was my opening report:

As I begin to emerge from a grieving process (that has actually been going on longer than I knew) I see that I need more balance in my life that includes looking out for my physical well being.

One of my issues is "unplanned" fasts because life just gets too busy to stop and eat. Then I end up eating too much when food becomes "available." Long term changes involve eating at closer intervals and learning better portion control. This actually sounds really hard to me... small, more frequent meals?... not how I think about food at all.

I don't want to "crash and burn" so I am starting slow and plan to add more changes to my habits as we progress...

1. Eliminate beverages at restaurants... water only. and more water throughout the day.

2. Long walk (2-3 times a week). I Plan on starting this with my kids when school lets out (June 15).

3. 5 servings of fruits/veggies each day (replacing other choices). Using this discipline to begin to change the way I think about frequency and portions.

On that day I started to keep an online food journal.

On my birthday (6/11), my husband surprised me with a 2-month gift certificate to Curves.  He said that if I didn’t miss any workouts for 2 months, we could talk about signing me up for a full year membership.  Well, I didn’t miss any and I did sign up for the year.

By June 14th this was my “plan”…
1. Eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies per day
2. Try Curves for the next 2 months and maybe longer after I see how it goes
3. Walk with the kids 1 or 2 times per week all summer
4. Drink water only when out to eat... and more water throughout the day
5. Keep daily food journal and weight log

At this point I started to define my goals.  My start weight was 268 lbs.  “obese”  I determined that for my height 203 lbs is my upper end of “overweight” and 169 lbs is my upper end of “normal weight.”  I made achieving Overweight and Normal weight my long-term goals but not my real focus.  I really wanted to focus on the daily plan and my short-term successes and not get bogged down with how far I had to go.

By August I added another item to my plan: “no eating after 7:00 pm.”  And because the kids were back in school and Curves was working out wonderfully, I dropped the walking.

Every month since then I have reported my progress to my church accountability group and evaluated my plan.  What is working?  What isn’t working?  What have I learned that can help make my plan better?  The list changes a little bit each month.

On January 17th I weighed in at 203 lbs and achieved my first “long-term” goal of dropping my BMI designation from “Obese” to “Overweight.”

This is my current “plan”…
1. Never Skip Breakfast! (Have a good portion of your daily calories here)
2. Take good nutritional supplements every day
3. Eat 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies per day
4. Eat at least 25 grams of fiber per day
5. Continue Curves at least 3 times per week
6. Water only when out to eat... and minimum of 64 oz water each day
7. Maintain daily food journal and weight log (keep a healthy calorie deficit)
8. No eating after 7:00pm (with a few exceptions)

Today I weighed in at 186 lbs and I’m 17 lbs away from my 2nd long-term goal of dropping my BMI into the “Normal” range.

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